The Rockets are now two full games up on the Golden State Warriors for homecourt advantage throughout the NBA Playoffs following a 109-93 win over the San Antonio Spurs Monday night at Toyota Center.
With 15 games to play, the Rockets are now 53-14, and their magic number to clinch the West’s top seed is 13.
Already without Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs were short LaMarcus Aldridge (right knee soreness), and Manu Ginobli (rest), and started slow, connecting on just two of their first 18 shots, spotting the Rockets a 15-point lead, but ended the quarter down just 25-21 after making their last seven shots of the quarter, capped by Davis Bertans’ three-pointer at the buzzer, but that was the closest San Antonio could get.
Houston scored the first four points of the second quarter, and quickly built their lead back to double digits, building it as high as 16 points, but the half ended with the Rockets leading 54-43. San Antonio never got closer than 10 in the second half with the Rockets leading by as many as 26.
James Harden led the Rockets with 28 points, six rebounds, and six assists. He shot just 6-of-17 from the field, but made up for it by making all 14 of his free throw attempts. He scored 16 points in a third quarter that saw the Rockets outscore the Spurs 34-24.
Chris Paul added 18 points and nine assists, draining 8-of-11 from the field.
The loss drops San Antonio to 37-30, in a 3-way tie for the 8-seed in the Western Conference with Denver and Utah.
Derrick White and Bryn Forbes led the Spurs with 14 points.
The Rockets will be back in action Thursday night when they host the Los Angeles Clippers at Toyota Center.